News Starting May 21, 2012
The 2012 Sacred Maya Crossing
This past week saw a number of events throughout the Yucatan Peninsula that mark the beginning of the celebrations leading up to the end of the Mayan long-count calendar. There is renewed interest in not only preserving the cultural remnants of the Mayan culture, but in rebuilding those parts that may seem to have been lost.
The Sacred Maya Crossing is just such a renewed cultural event. In ancient times, it was believed that Ixcheel, goddess of fertility, lived on Cozumel. Entire communities would cross from the mainland to the island to have her foretell their future. This year, the number of participants was greater than at any time since the tradition was revived.
Perhaps this drive to renew traditions and to give them their proper respect is evidence that human beings really may have a chance to change the world after all. 2012 is an important year throughout all of the Americas, and we will certainly see many more opportunities to observe how willing people are to rethink the importance of character, respect and tradition. Three hundred Maya participating in a Sacred Crossing to honor Ixcheel certainly gives us pause for thought.
Hurricane Season to Begin Next Week
2012 is expected to bring approximately ten named storms, four hurricanes and two major hurricanes, with most located near the U.S. Gulf Coast. The entire 42-page research from Colorado State University is online and available to those who wish to delve deeper into the way these storms are predicted.
No matter how many or how few of these storms actually come to pass, the best advice we have ever seen is in this report: “Coastal residents are reminded that it only takes one hurricane making landfall to make it an active season for them, and they need to prepare the same for every season, regardless of how much activity is predicted.”
If you live in Yucatan, or if you think you would like to live in Yucatan, now is the time to become familiar with Yucatan’s Civil Protection resources online. On those pages, you will find everything from current bulletins to where there is a shelter near you. For hurricane tracking, you can visit NOAA’s Hurricane Tracking Center. If you know of a better tracking center, or one that gives different information, please share a link in the comments. As always, when making your hurricane preparations, don’t forget to include your pets and neighbors who may not have a car.
English Program Available for Orphanages
Many of our readers volunteer at several orphanages here in Yucatan. This week, we received an email about a small non-profit organization based in the U.S. that is looking for one or two orphanages in Yucatan that might be interested in hosting an English program. They cover most of the costs of the program through their donors, so this is at no cost to the orphanage. This seems like a great program that an orphanage can add to give the young children there a valuable skill. If you know of an orphanage in Yucatan that would be interested in such a program, please contact Casey Glade, ILP Program Director, at casey [at] ilp [dot] org with any information on any orphanages in the Yucatan area.
T-20 Lunch at Hacienda Chichen
On May 16th, Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism, Gloria Guevara, and the leaders of the T-20 Ministers of Tourism were joined by executives from a number of international travel organization and World Tourism organizations who were in Yucatan for the fourth T20 Ministers of Tourism Meetings (T20 Mexico). They all enjoyed a gala lunch at Hacienda Chichen Resort, the historic hacienda just outside of the grounds of Chichen Itza. They also visited Chichen Itza for the official T20 photograph with el Castillo as a background. His Royal Highness Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, President of SCTA, found Hacienda Chichen enchanting and he, along with other T20 guests and members, was very interested to learn more about Hacienda Chichen, past and present. They enjoyed learning about the hotel’s commitment to responsible tourism and ecotourism. Chef Josue Cime and his staff created a perfect culinary feast for these important guests. Hacienda Chichen was carefully selected for this gala lunch in the T-20 gastronomic tour and program. More information about the T-20 in Yucatan and the G-20 in Mexico can be found on the official G-20 website.
Sports Center to Open in Caucel
The new sports center in Caucel is almost finished and is set to open within approximately another month. The center includes a multi-use gym, as well as complete track and field facilities and a semi-Olympic swimming pool. The center is not only for the benefit of athletes, but also for the benefit of the now 300,000 people who live in the area. As this project has progressed, parks in the Caucel area have also been revamped and the parks now boast free internet WiFi service. We have actually heard more and more potential expats express an interest in the area around Caucel, especially those who have an interest in sports. It looks as if Caucel is quite the happening place these days. We can’t wait to see what the athletes are going to think of their new sports home in Caucel.
Cancun Traffic Ordinance Changes
At long last, Cancun will soon begin breathalyzer testing for alcohol and mandatory vehicle insurance. In addition, the auto insurance will have to insure the vehicle, rather than the driver. Drivers will also be required to have an up-to-date driver’s license. The police say that there are far too many alcohol-related auto accidents in Quintana Roo and that their Cancun Transit Police are spending far too much time at traffic accidents because people are simply not carrying the proper documentation in their vehicles.
Pilot tests of a new breathalyzer program will be beginning soon. If you are traveling to Cancun, be prepared for any eventuality. Most expats are used to this in Yucatan but there are always stragglers. We would hope that everyone will gather copies of all mandatory documents, including ownership and insurance, as well as never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking. Please be careful. Summer is coming and so are millions of tourists who are not used to driving in Mexico.
Campeche: Wasting Water
As environmental issues grow more intense, the use and abuse of services is going to become vitally important to everyone in every country in the world. As of now, we still pay a water bill and expect water to flow with the turn of a kitchen or bathroom handle. This week, the City of Campeche audited the use of water in homes and found that 10% of their water is leaking away. Most of the water tab is picked up by taxpayers through the Campeche Municipal Water and Sewer Department. This is the equivalent of 1.50 cubic meters per second which, in pesos, amounts to $5 million pesos per month! Now, they have to find a way to make repairs to over 2,000 homes. Perhaps we should take a lesson from this and make certain that our individual water lines are in good shape and that there are no leaks inside of our homes. It is far better to do those kinds of checks and repairs on our own time than to get surprised by an emergency like this. Our hearts go out to the people of Campeche. They are all environmentally conscious and were as shocked as anyone else when they heard this news.
State Sponsored Tours Coming for Potential Retirees
This was interesting news this week. Sistema para el Fideicomiso del Desarrollo del Estado de Yucatán (SIFIDEY) is getting ready to build a network to attract retirees from the United States and Canada. When potential expats visit the Yucatan to make certain that it is a safe and quiet place to live, and that it has a high level of services, SIFIDEY will show them around and even organize trips to local attractions. They are currently developing both literature and a website devoted to marketing Yucatan in the USA and Canada. This is an interesting program that is to begin, from what we hear, almost immediately. We look forward to seeing new expat faces and to making new friendships with those who do choose Yucatan for retirement.
Beach Cleaning by “We Are Young”
Over one hundred young people from the group Somos Jóvenes showed up at a beach-cleaning project in Progreso. The best part about that was that they brought their parents and grandparents to help. One volunteer was a grandmother in a wheelchair! Yucatan’s young people are being taught that the environment of the state not only belongs to them, but also that they are responsible for bringing up the next generation to be just as responsible, if not more so. As we move closer to elections in Mexico, we see more and more young people involved in projects that are normally reserved for adults. We also see younger and younger elected city and municipal officials. This is an interesting phenomenon and we are more than happy to see young people involved and actually feeling responsible for the care of the world they create. We certainly want to congratulate the parents and grandparents who volunteered to clean the beach in Progreso. They have done an excellent job of raising responsible citizens and are to be commended.
Expat Petition on Change.org:
"United Airlines: ACCEPT PETS IN-CABIN GOING INTO AND OUT OF MEXICO."
Last week we told you about a group of expats on our sister site, Yolisto.com, who have become active in the campaign to convince United Airlines to change their in-cabin pet policy. This policy is particularly a problem because United says the reason it changed the policy is because the Mexican Government sent out a directive to do so. They did not and there are no other airlines that we know of that have this directive. Mexico’s “no pets in the cabin” rule is for domestic flights only. United is refunding in-cabin pet deposits and asking for twice as much to fly pets in cargo. This has many Americans, including American government workers and military families, trapped in other countries without enough extra money to get their beloved pets home. United says this policy is industry-wide, but we have checked, and it is not. United is the only airline with this policy. United flies into Merida. Without their in-cabin pet service, pets and expats will have to fly into Cancun on another carrier and hire a vehicle, for more than $200 USD, to drive to Merida. The expats affected most by this policy that came with no warning are asking that you please go to Change.org and sign their petition. If you would also send it along to your friends and family, it would be deeply appreciated.